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Simon Cowell Opens Up About His Heartbreaking Loss & His Regrets About One Direction!

Simon Cowell Opens Up About His Heartbreaking Loss & His Regrets About One Direction!

Intro (00:00:00)

  • Simon Cowell discusses his success in the music and television industries.
  • He recalls his early struggles and failures in the music business.
  • Despite financial difficulties, Cowell persisted in pursuing his passion for music.

Early Context (00:02:16)

  • Cowell describes his childhood as happy but boring.
  • He was determined to find a career that he would enjoy and have fun in.
  • His parents encouraged him to earn his own spending money by doing chores for neighbors.

Your Parents (00:03:17)

  • Cowell speaks about the influence of his parents, Julie and Eric.
  • He describes his mother as the disciplinarian in the family.
  • The loss of his mother was the most devastating event in his life.

Your Work Ethic, Where Does That Come From (00:04:32)

  • Simon Cowell's parents were kind, respectful, and always there for him.
  • His father worked hard for a large corporation but didn't have any money when he passed away.
  • This made Simon realize he didn't want to be in that position and that the only way to achieve that was by working for himself.
  • He also didn't want to have to suck up to a boss who didn't like him, as he was bad at school and thought work would be the same.
  • Simon Cowell's father passed away when he was young, which was heartbreaking for him.
  • He regrets not spending more time with his father and not telling him how much he loved him.
  • He also regrets not being able to give his father the life he deserved.
  • Simon feels guilty about not being there for his father when he needed him most.

The Importance of Respect (00:07:20)

  • Simon's father advised him to be patient and persistent in his chosen career in entertainment, as success may take 20-30 years.
  • His father also taught him the importance of making everyone feel important, regardless of their role or position.
  • Simon emphasizes the value of recognizing and appreciating every member of a team, from the person opening the door to those handling cameras.
  • He criticizes those with a public profile who ignore others or show hypocrisy by acting differently off-camera.
  • Simon recalls feeling demeaned when people he was talking to would look for someone more important, which influenced his understanding of the importance of respect.
  • Simon Cowell opens up about the loss of his mother, Julie Brett, who passed away in 2015.
  • He describes the devastating impact of her death, saying it was the most difficult time in his life.
  • Simon reveals that his mother was his biggest supporter and always believed in him, even when he was struggling.
  • He expresses regret for not spending more time with her and for not being able to say goodbye properly.
  • Simon emphasizes the importance of cherishing loved ones and making the most of the time spent with them.

Making the Decision to Pursue Entertainment (00:11:02)

  • Simon Cowell's father worked in the real estate division of EMI.
  • Simon loved buying and listening to records.
  • After failing his exams twice, Simon's father suggested he get a job at Tesco.
  • Simon had an unsuccessful interview at Tesco due to his attire.
  • Simon's mother applied for him to work for the Civil Service, but he was not interested in the job.
  • Simon's father wanted him to work in the building trade, but Simon declined.
  • Simon eventually got a job as a runner at Elstree Studios.
  • He aspired to become a director and was willing to work hard to achieve his goal.
  • Simon's contract at Elstree Studios only lasted for two months.
  • The executive producer was mean and eventually threw Simon out of the building.
  • Simon almost got another job, but it fell through.

Working in the Post Room at a Record Label (00:16:24)

  • Simon Cowell was offered a job as a runner on the movie "The Shining" but chose to work in the post room at EMI Music Publishing instead.
  • The post room was in a basement and the job involved making tea and other menial tasks.
  • Simon was eager to learn and would ask everyone in the office for a better job.
  • He eventually gained an understanding of how the music business worked and was amazed by the amount of money some artists were earning.
  • Simon Cowell opens up about his heartbreaking loss and regrets about One Direction.
  • He reveals that he feels responsible for the band's split and wishes he had done more to keep them together.
  • Simon also discusses his own personal struggles, including his battle with depression and anxiety.
  • He talks about how he has learned to cope with his mental health issues and how he is now in a better place.

Making His Way Up in the Music Industry (00:20:03)

  • Simon Cowell worked in the post room of a music publishing company.
  • He was curious and polite, which made him stand out.
  • After 18 months, he was not offered a promotion, so he decided to become an estate agent.
  • His father got him a job at a snobby and rude estate agency called Hilia Parker May and Rden.
  • His mother noticed he was unhappy and told him about a job opening at EMI Music Publishing.
  • He got an interview and landed a job in the international department as a song plugger.
  • His job was to get other people to cover the company's songs to generate more money.
  • The job was difficult because country music was not popular in the UK at the time.
  • The job was initially promised to someone else, but Simon got it, which caused some resentment.

Starting a Record Label with Your Boss (00:24:00)

  • Simon Cowell struggled to get anyone to talk to him during his first six months at a record label.
  • He listened to thousands of country songs over six months and compiled a list of potential hits.
  • His boss suggested they start a company together, but Simon initially hesitated due to his lack of experience.
  • Despite his doubts, Simon met with potential backers and eventually agreed to start the company.
  • The company had limited resources and was based in an NCP car park.
  • After 18 months, Simon left his own company and joined a management company.
  • Simon met Sanita at a nightclub and was attracted to her.
  • He discovered that she was an artist and asked to hear her demos.
  • Impressed by her voice, Simon had an idea to create a dance music record with her.
  • He saw potential in breaking the record through clubs across the UK.

Creating Your First Smash Hit Record (00:29:19)

  • Simon Cowell collaborated with Sanita to create two songs, "So Macho" and "God You've Got It."
  • After the record label shut down, Simon convinced Sanita to give him £5,000 to produce a video and distribute the record.
  • Simon believes in understanding the consumer's perspective when marketing music.
  • Despite his lack of music production knowledge, Simon avoided situations that could expose his shortcomings.
  • Simon Cowell faced numerous challenges in the music industry before achieving success.
  • He emphasizes the significance of understanding the audience's perspective when marketing a product.
  • Simon describes the difficulties he encountered in physically producing and promoting his records, experiencing multiple failures before eventually finding success.

Going Broke Right After Creating Your First Smash Hit (00:36:44)

  • Simon Cowell faced financial difficulties when his record label, Fan Fair Records, collapsed, leaving him with a debt of nearly $500,000.
  • Despite his successful music career, Cowell made poor financial decisions, including buying a house, a Porsche, and a gold credit card, without fully understanding the financial implications.
  • After declaring bankruptcy, Cowell moved back in with his parents, who supported him emotionally during this challenging time.
  • Cowell managed to negotiate a deal with another bank to pay off his debt and avoid bankruptcy by convincing them of his potential for success based on his previous achievements in the music industry.
  • Cowell received a proposal from Tony to start his own record label and arranged meetings with BMG and Universal on the same day.
  • Universal rejected the proposal, but BMG offered Cowell a one-year deal with a sales target, which he successfully met, reviving his career.

Meeting Pete Waterman, a Moment That Changed Everything (00:43:43)

  • Simon Cowell met Pete Waterman, a renowned music producer, which became a pivotal moment in his career.
  • Cowell realized he needed to find artists who needed songs written for them and sought out the best pop writers.
  • He approached Waterman, who was initially dismissive but eventually agreed to work with Cowell after seeing his persistence.
  • Waterman produced the hit song "Toy Boy" for Cowell's artist Sinitta, which became a massive international success.
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Being an Early Adopter of TV (00:47:41)

  • Pete Waterman, a former colleague of Simon Cowell, is widely regarded as the world's best DJ for his exceptional ability to select music that resonates with any audience.
  • Recognizing the potential of television as a music distribution platform, Cowell convinced the WWF to create an album featuring their wrestlers, despite initial skepticism.
  • Cowell's successful approach involved identifying passionate fan bases and attaching music to them, leading to collaborations with the Power Rangers, Zig and Zag, and the WWF.
  • By adopting the mindset of a child and thinking from the consumer's perspective, Cowell created music that resonated with the target audience, achieving chart-topping hits in multiple countries despite resistance from traditional music industry executives.
  • After receiving numerous requests from record shops about Robson and Jerome's performance on the TV show "Soldier Soldier," Cowell discovered their potential and persistently pursued them, eventually securing a meeting.
  • During the meeting, Cowell offered Robson and Jerome £50,000 each to record a song, with the understanding that they would keep the money even if they decided not to release the record.
  • Robson realized that Cowell had intentionally manipulated them into recording the song, which became a massive hit and propelled Robson and Jerome to become the best-selling artists in the UK for two years, surpassing popular bands like Oasis.

Following Your Gut Regardless of the Criticism (00:56:54)

  • Simon Cowell stresses the significance of trusting one's intuition and embracing unconventional paths in the music industry.
  • He suggests musicians find unique ways to present their music, differentiating themselves rather than following trends, despite the challenges and criticism that may arise.
  • Cowell encourages individuals to embrace their individuality and not be afraid to stray from conventional paths, even if it means facing mockery or criticism.
  • He expresses frustration with the traditional radio industry and emphasizes the need for alternative ways to get music heard.
  • Cowell announces the launch of Flight Studio, a new podcast and media technology company, and mentions they are hiring for 30 to 60 roles.
  • LinkedIn Jobs is highlighted as the preferred platform for hiring due to its user-friendly interface, efficiency, and ability to source professionals who may not be actively searching for jobs.

Finding Westlife (01:03:34)

  • Simon Cowell's father passed away around the time Westlife's album hit number one.
  • Simon's father was good at spotting hit records and was proud of Simon's success.
  • Louis Walsh kept insisting that he had the best band, but Simon didn't like them at first.
  • Three months later, Simon went back to Dublin and saw the band again. This time, he was impressed and signed them.
  • One of the band members had dyed his hair blonde to sneak back into the band.
  • Westlife went on to be very successful, and Simon believes they still hold a record.

Your Father Passing Away (01:06:34)

  • Simon Cowell's success with One Direction's chart-topping singles was overshadowed by the news of his father's sudden passing from a heart attack during a conference in Germany.
  • Despite his achievements, Cowell expressed that he would have given up all his success to have his father by his side.
  • He finds solace in his faith and feels the presence of his parents, often seeking their guidance in his thoughts.
  • Cowell's father rarely lost his temper with him, leaving a lasting impact, but he never resorted to physical punishment.
  • Although his father didn't witness his TV success, Cowell believes he would have found it amusing.
  • Losing both his parents was the most challenging experience for Cowell, but he finds comfort in time and the belief in their continued presence.
  • His mother, who suffered from dementia, expressed her wish for him to have a child before her passing and gifted him a sentimental brown blanket for his son.
  • Cowell shares an anecdote about his son mentioning his deceased grandparents, reinforcing his belief in their enduring presence.
  • Reflecting on the loss of his close friends, including his father, Eric, Cowell emphasizes the deep bond and unconditional love they shared, prioritizing their well-being above all else.
  • The loss of his father gave Cowell a new perspective, making him realize that chart positions and showcases paled in comparison to the value of relationships.

Your Life Changing After Your Son, Eric, Was Born (01:14:41)

  • Simon Cowell's life changed drastically after his son, Eric, was born.
  • Before Eric, Simon was a workaholic, often staying up until 8:00 a.m. and working on Sundays and Saturdays.
  • After losing his mother, Simon spiraled into depression and became even more obsessed with work.
  • He describes feeling like a vampire, working through the night and sleeping in the afternoon.
  • Simon was very successful but not happy and felt like he had reached a point where nothing mattered.
  • Simon recalls the period after his mother's death as the darkest time in his life.
  • He felt like he was dying inside but had to put on a brave face for television.
  • Simon gained weight and ate junk food, not caring about his health.
  • He reached a point where he didn't care if he died.
  • Simon relates to people who reach the lowest levels of depression and understands the feeling of not wanting to be alive.
  • He has spoken publicly about mental health, particularly men's mental health, and suffers from depression at times.

Loyalty, Why It's So Important to Me (01:20:13)

  • Simon Cowell considers loyalty to be very important.
  • He noticed that loyalty is a word he often uses when describing artists and bands he has worked with.
  • He appreciates the loyalty of people like Lou Walsh and Pete Waterman who have helped him achieve success.
  • He takes it badly when someone he considers a friend rewrites the narrative and blames him for their failures.
  • Simon Cowell opens up about his heartbreaking loss and regrets about One Direction.

Setting New Work Boundaries in My New Life (01:22:39)

  • Simon Cowell discusses his new work-life balance and the boundaries he has set in place.
  • He does not work on Fridays and does not engage in emails after 5:30 or 6:00 p.m.
  • He does not use social media and does not have a mobile phone.
  • He prefers talking to people in person or using a landline.
  • He believes that not having a phone helps him focus on the important things in life and avoid unimportant gossip.
  • People who need to contact him can always find a way to reach him.

Advice for a Young Simon Cowell (01:26:19)

  • Work smarter, not harder.
  • Prioritize tasks based on gut feeling and avoid wasting time on things that aren't worth the effort.
  • Creativity thrives when well-rested and happy.
  • Enjoy the process and don't be afraid to take breaks.
  • Working long hours doesn't always equate to better results.
  • Find a balance between work and personal life.
  • Avoid checking emails or responding to work-related matters late at night.
  • Prioritize sleep for optimal physical and mental health.

The Importance of Hard Work (01:28:57)

  • Hard work is essential for success, but talent and instincts also play a crucial role.
  • People who achieve great success without inheritance typically put in long hours and have a strong work ethic.
  • A good work ethic involves being willing to put in the hours and not shying away from challenges.
  • Finding a balance between work and personal life is important to avoid burnout.
  • Prioritize sleep for optimal physical and mental health.

Your Accident, Breaking Your Back in 3 Places (01:31:34)

  • Simon Cowell had a serious accident in 2020 while riding an electric motorbike during the pandemic.
  • He broke his back in three places and underwent a six-hour surgery with a metal rod inserted for stabilization.
  • Despite the severity of the injury, he considers himself lucky to be alive.
  • Prior to the accident, Simon Cowell thought he was fit but realized he was not as fit as he thought.
  • The accident forced him to change his lifestyle, including getting proper exercise and eating better.
  • He acknowledges that the accident was a wake-up call and helped him realize how unfit he was.
  • Simon Cowell discusses the significant impact of back injuries on mental health, citing Craig David's experience with depression after his back injury.
  • The pandemic compounded the mental challenges as he was confined indoors during his recovery.
  • He spent nearly a year at home due to the injury and pandemic restrictions.
  • Before the surgery, Simon Cowell had to sign a form authorizing doctors to switch off life support if the operation failed.
  • He experienced intense pain after the surgery but was relieved when the pain receptors in his spine wore off.
  • Despite being on painkillers, he was still trying to handle legal matters and sell a show, showcasing his determination.
  • He recovered from the painkillers much earlier than expected, which was significant for his progress.

Going to Therapy (01:36:43)

  • Simon Cowell underwent therapy after a back injury and during the pandemic, finding it beneficial for processing emotions and gaining a fresh perspective.
  • He stresses the significance of seeking professional help for mental well-being, likening it to the importance of nutrition and exercise for physical health.
  • Cowell highly recommends his therapist, Justin, for positively influencing his life and priorities.
  • He acknowledges the challenges men face in expressing emotions and encourages open communication and appreciation for those who support them.

Foundational Advice for Anyone Starting Out in Their Career (01:43:00)

  • Be good at what you do and be patient.
  • The learning and getting there is as enjoyable as being there.
  • Do something you enjoy and that you are passionate about.
  • Don't blame others if things don't work out, trust your instincts and have a strong work ethic.
  • Finding something you are passionate about is the most important thing.

The Importance of Legacy (01:46:43)

  • Simon Cowell emphasizes the significance of legacy and strives for perfection when editing clips to ensure they are visually appealing and enduring.
  • He believes in finding a mentor who is smarter and willing to guide, while demonstrating a strong work ethic to earn their trust.
  • Cowell reflects on his childhood experience of being starstruck and never wanting to disappoint others by saying no to requests for autographs or pictures.
  • He expresses his genuine liking for people and views it as a crucial aspect of his job, despite the occasional inconvenience it may cause.
  • Cowell hopes his legacy will reflect his achievements without any advantages and his kind treatment of others.

The Rise of Bullying (01:50:06)

  • Cowell expresses concern about the rise of bullying, particularly due to the influence of social media.
  • He observes that many people believe material possessions are necessary for happiness, but emphasizes that money is not everything.
  • Cowell encourages individuals not to be discouraged by setbacks or perceived limitations, as success can be achieved with patience and the right guidance.

One Direction (01:52:06)

  • Simon Cowell is friends with some of the One Direction members.
  • He thinks it's better to have success than not.
  • One Direction was very successful, selling a lot of records and making a lot of money.
  • Cowell advised them not to complain about paparazzi, invasion of privacy, or long hours because those come with success.
  • He believes the hard work and loss of privacy are worth it for the success and excitement of being in a band.
  • Simon Cowell regrets not spending more time with his family when he was younger and focused on his career.
  • He advises young people to not make the same mistake and to find a balance between work and personal life.

Searching for a New Boy Band (01:55:15)

  • Simon Cowell is searching for a new boy band because he believes there is currently no band as good as One Direction.
  • He plans to document the entire process of forming the band, from auditions to the final selection.
  • Cowell emphasizes the importance of personality and authenticity in creating a successful band.
  • He trusts his own judgment and experience in putting together a successful band.
  • The selection process relies on intuition and a sense of what the teenage audience will like.
  • Cowell advises potential band members to be themselves, make music they love, and avoid relying on rehearsed routines or stylists.
  • Simon Cowell regrets not giving One Direction more creative control over their music.
  • He believes that the band could have been even more successful if they had been allowed to express themselves more authentically.
  • Cowell acknowledges that he made mistakes in managing One Direction and takes responsibility for their eventual split.
  • He learned from his mistakes and is determined to give future bands more freedom and support.

Harry Styles (02:00:37)

  • Simon Cowell reflects on One Direction and Harry Styles' success.
  • He acknowledges Harry's charisma and likability from the beginning.
  • Cowell expresses surprise at Harry's immense success as a solo artist.
  • He suggests that being in One Direction made it easier for Harry to achieve success.
  • Cowell notes the decline in the number of UK artists achieving global success in recent years.
  • Simon Cowell expresses regret about how One Direction ended.
  • He believes that the group had potential for continued success.
  • Cowell acknowledges that the decision to break up the group was made collectively.
  • He reflects on the challenges of managing a group of young artists.
  • Cowell emphasizes the importance of nurturing and supporting young talent.

AI Within the Music Industry (02:02:58)

  • AI is both a concern and an opportunity for the music industry.
  • Virtual artists, like the Japanese artist who sells out stadiums despite not existing, are becoming more popular.
  • However, people are still more interested in real, in-person entertainment experiences.
  • AI could lead to increased demand for live entertainment as people have more free time due to job displacement.
  • The entertainment industry, including concerts and festivals, is seen as a refuge from the digital world.
  • Simon Cowell aimed for One Direction to have enough hits to do stadium tours if they ever reunited.
  • He regrets not pushing them to record more music together.
  • Cowell believes that One Direction could have been even bigger if they had stayed together.
  • He feels that the group had the potential to become one of the greatest bands of all time.

Will One Direction Get Back Together? (02:06:52)

  • Simon Cowell doubts One Direction will reunite.
  • He regrets not owning the band's name.
  • If he owned the name, he could organize tours even if one member didn't want to participate.
  • Currently, each member owns 20% of the name.

The Last Guest's Question (02:08:18)

  • The previous guest's question for Simon Cowell is: "What one decision could you make today that would have the most positive impact on your life long term?"
  • Simon Cowell's answer is to stop eating sugar.

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